This is so not how I pictured myself killing time till my doctor's
appointment. Not that I haven't been here more than a few times before
today, but it still is a little unnerving to be standing here with
noise-reducing ear muffs on watching Yami blow the hell out of a target.
He's only been practicing since a day or two after the Tokyo Incident, but these
little exercises have been a regular occurrence. I just usually try to
avoid them, since frankly, he's a little scary when he's at it.
I have to wonder where all this determination came from. I know he was a little steamed about one of Pegasus' goons tagging him back then, but that's been two months ago. Even I'd have dropped it by now, at least for a little something like that. On its own, one of my hands moves to touch the section of the bandages that's below my right eye. Forgiving something like this is a bit harder. No one's seen hide or hair of Takeshi in that time, and I'm almost okay with that. If the bastard was going to send that particular goon after us again, he would have done it by now, so I guess I'm going to agree with the popular assumption that Takeshi was the man Yuugi saw being torn apart. I'm glad I'm still a little fuzzy on that part of the story.
Still, why the hell is Yami so hell bent and determined to be a crack shot? I think that's the right term. Until a little over a month ago, when I got home from the hospital, my knowledge of guns was rather limited (See shotgun. Shells go here. Pump. Pull trigger. See blood and guts.), till Yami started a second weapons collection. First it was swords, and now it's guns, mostly of the handgun variety. It's not like we have to be any good with them, since Seto hired bodyguards.
Speaking of tall, blonde, leggy, and able to benchpress a truck... I glance over my shoulder. Yep, I'd say she's just as bored as I am, but she's doing a good job of keeping an eye out from trouble. I have to say that I like Kujaku Mai; she takes her job seriously. I would too, after the introduction Seto gave us: "Kujaku, this is Bakura. You'll be guarding him for the rest of his life." Nice enough gesture on Seto's part, since it serves the dual purpose of helping me out with the Oyaji problem and of getting at least one Were a decent job. Mai told me that before Seto hired her, she was working as a blackjack dealer and bouncer at some kind of sleazy casino. It's my understanding she spent more time getting groped than working her table, though.
She glances back at me as if sensing my eyes on her, and she taps her wrist where a watch would be sitting if she were wearing one. I glance down at my own (which is actually Yami's but I... commandeered it) and wince. We're going to be pushing it to make it to the doctor's on time. Damn.
"Hey, Pharaoh!" I yell to be heard over the shots and his ear muffs. "Time to go!"
I could almost swear he didn't hear me or he's ignoring me as he fires off another two shots and start to yell at him again when the chamber clicks forward, empty, and he pulls his muffs down. I pull mine off to hear him ask, "It's time already?"
"We've been here over an hour already." I just barely manage to keep the whining out of that. "Isn't the recoil getting to you yet?"
He shakes his head, getting another clip in and a bullet in the chamber. "Not really."
I feel a smirk touching my lips. "Liar. Your arms are shaking." He scowls; he hates getting caught. "Besides, I'm getting these damn bandages off today and-"
"And you're going nuts waiting," he finishes, clicking the safety on. The gun disappears into Leather Space. Seriously, I have no idea how he does it. Leather Space, like some kind of anime character, is my best explanation. It's either that or he's learning more than how to control his abilities from Mahaado, and the idea of my nutty little Yami learning magick is more alarming than him giving that target hell.
Even if almost all the bullets went through what would be its heart.
"You'll have to take it easy a while."
I try not to fidget as the doctor speaks and removes the bandages. As often as I've been here in the last month, we ought to be on a closer basis. One of the reasons we're not is sitting (or more likely pacing or prowling, knowing him) in the waiting room; the guy is thoroughly cowed by Yami, Seto, and their money. "I've been taking it easy. How much longer? I'm starting to go stir-crazy."
"Just a couple more weeks, to be safe." The last piece of bandage comes off, and he sits back. "I don't need to ask if you still have plenty of the medicine I prescribed, do I?" I shake my head, and he nods as if pleased then hands me a flyer from the counter. "This is some information for you from that plastic surgeon friend of mine I mentioned before, if you change your mind on it."
You'd almost think he's being nice, but I did my research two weeks ago when he first started talking plastic surgery: his 'friend' pays him a pretty hefty fee for every referral. He may be intimidated by Mutou and Kaiba money, but that's not stopping him from trying to glean a bit extra. Have I ever mentioned how much I hate false people, like this guy and Bitch Queen Mazaki, aka Yami's personal stalker? I'm told the new Were guards have a pool going on who can toss that bitch the furthest every time she tries to sneak on the grounds of Kaiba Mansion.
Still, the idea of another scar doesn't really bother me too much. What I can see of the ones on my back are much worse. What's on the back is something that can be hidden, though; this is going to be glaring right out at people. I don't want my little brother to keep feeling guilty over this, especially since it wasn't his fault. I blame one person and one person alone: that bastard who spawned us. He's the one who's going to feel my wrath one of these nights, when he least expects the knife I'm going to stick in his guts. Maybe I've been around the Kaibas too long; I'm starting to get downright bloodthirsty.
All the same, I hop off the examination table and move over to the mirror on the back of the door, barely holding back wincing. Okay, maybe it's a little worse than I'd anticipated. I mean, it looks like Takeshi was trying to write the katakana for 'ki' on my face and had really bad penmanship. Great, now I have new bonding levels with Malik. I can just see it now...
I turn slightly and glare at the doctor over my shoulder. "I'm sure Kaiba Seto will mail you your check either way. Now get off my fucking case about it." There, said it. And much more polite than I'd planned. No threatened ghost callings, no shoving that stethoscope so far up his ass that it comes out his throat, no knives filleting him into tiny pieces, no calling my - Yami in here to shoot him up a bit, no ritual disembowelings... Yes, I've been thinking on this a while. I'd have Kitty, Seto, and Malik on that list, but they all might try to eat him then end up with food poisoning. You never know with Malik, after all.
Speaking of everyone's favorite nutball, I need to remember to call him. I don't exactly need an inside source at Kaiba Corp anymore. Maybe I can mention he needs to stop stalking Kitty too. That'll go over famously, rather like a lead balloon.
"Bakura-san!" Hmph, the idiot can't pull off that offended tone half as well as Yami or a third as well as Ryou. As good as a reason as any to flip him off as I walk out the door.
And hey, look, I was right: Yami is pacing/prowling the waiting room. He barely seems to be touching the floor as he goes back and forth. Just to be sure, I stare at his feet a second or two: yeah, he's still earthbound, for now. You never know with him. It's only been two months since the Tokyo Incident, and even Mahaado has no idea the extent of what he can do. I don't know if we're ever going to find out his limitations, and I'm not sure I want to. Something tells me it won't be pretty.
I open my mouth to say something to him in greeting, but he looks up first and grins faintly. "How'd it go?" He glances of over me, wincing slightly at the scar. "No blood. Didn't feel like killing him this time?"
I have to smirk in response. "I couldn't decide on a method. You walked a hole in the carpet again."
He pouts faintly. I might think it was real if I couldn't see the light in his eyes that tells me he's holding back laughter. "Well, if you'd let me back there with you..."
"It's the last time I need to be here, anyway. It's a bit of a moot point now. Besides, you just want back there to do perverted things on the table."
He laughs. Not one of those 'ha-ha, I one-upped you' ones he loves so much, but a real laugh. I like hearing these a lot more. "Maybe so."
Despite the teasing, we haven't really gotten that far. I know. Shocking, isn't it? Well, it's sort of been one thing after another after another. Between his training with Mahaado and my doctor visits - after finally being released from the hospital, mind you - and Ryou's mothering and Yami and Seto's arguments and everything else, including the occasional attempt on my life, it's been too crazy around here. Not to mention, of course, the fact we both have our many and assorted hang-ups, which don't help matters any either. I might be laying one of mine to rest soon though: he didn't react too badly to this scar, so maybe the others won't be too big a deal either. I hope anyway.
"You wish," I return. I can tell by his eyes he knows I've been thinking too hard again and it worries him. He has a completely perfect poker face, but his eyes are distressingly easy to read, at least for me.
"Let's get out of here, hmm?" he offers, holding a hand out to me. Yami likes little stuff like holding hands. I... don't dislike it, and so reach out to take his.
"Let's go home."
Home, surprising enough, has come to mean the section of the mansion Seto divvied up for us. Ryou and I lived in the apartment two years, and it was still just that, the apartment. Less than two months, and already I feel at home where we live now. Sure, it probably puts the 'fun' in 'dysfunctional', but it's home and I think I may have adopted the other inhabitants as a sort of weird extended family. Maybe the same applies for Yami too, but I haven't really gotten around to asking.
We step out the door, both holding back a shudder as the cool air from inside contrasts against the warmer May evening air outside. I sense, rather than see, Mai fall in step behind us. She's on the phone, no doubt calling one of the cars to come get us (that's something I've yet to get used to, by the by, but it was Seto and Yami's idea, not mine). If I look over my shoulder, I'm sure I can see the revolver she always seems to have on her. Why she wears it when she can benchpress a truck, I'll never know. I guess it makes sense to her because it fails to do so for me.
"What's the plan for now then?"
"I don't care as long as I don't have go back in there. Mai? Anywhere you want to go?" I ask, glancing over my shoulder at her. Yep, there's the revolver.
She looks thoughtful a moment then shakes her head. "Nope, I'm good." Thank goodness. This lady can shop the hell out of any man, even a gay one. I guess that's where I fit, after all, given the fact I'm provisionally dating Yami and he's definitely a guy.
Speaking of Yami, he lets out a sigh of relief, I guess at the fact he won't be carrying around bags and boxes tonight. "Then let's head home, please. I've got a bad feeling."
"Thank you, Yami Solo." I get a bit of a glare. He hates Star Wars references, especially concerning himself. "I was only feeling mildly paranoid till now. Thanks so much for clearing that-"
And... I'm kissing the fucking pavement again. Damn it, did Mai really have to shove me that hard? Oh yeah, she's a Were. I forgot. Maybe I should take a little comfort that she shoved Yami down too. Still, this is the third time this week alone. It's no damn fair. Why is it always me getting shot at? What did I ever do to deserve this, except rescue my little brother from our father, thereby causing Oyaji to lose his heir? That's not so much, really!
A bullet grazes off the pavement near my face, and I'm yanked back against a familiar body. I'd almost swear Yami's behind these attacks so he can get his quality grope time in, especially given Kitty's been crashing in my room as of late... well, since I got out of the hospital anyway. He and Seto are off, is my understanding, not that it really matters at this moment because, holy fuck, their aim is getting better! Mind on the bullets, now!
And why couldn't I have gotten a useful ability if I had to have one, like telekinesis or something? Something that stops bullets would be really nice right about now. I feel a shudder go through me, not unlike when we came outside earlier but yet wholly different at once, there is a shrill scream like the damned, and there is silence.
For all of three seconds.
"Are you okay, Bakura?"
Have I ever mentioned how annoying it is to have two people talking to you at once? It happens to me way too often. "I'm fine," I grind out. I slowly sit up and take stock on myself. Some scrapes and bruises (one or two of which may be Yami-shaped, as tightly as he was holding me), but nothing worse than Tuesday's attack. Of course, it's only Thursday; they have the whole weekend to score a mark on me. It's getting really fucking annoying though. "Can't I go through one week without some shitheads trying to kill me anymore?"
And there goes the shudder, as the spirit goes back to wherever I yanked it from to make the bullets stop. Come to think of it, that happened Sunday also, when that guy tried to run us down with the delivery van, which sucked quite a bit. Of course, I think it sucked more for him when Mai turned the van upside down , shook him out, and tried to beat a confession out of his already dying ass. It didn't work, but at least she tried.
I think this makes attempt number twelve on my life since I got out of the hospital. And I'm counting the one car from last week that tried playing chicken with the driver Seto sent us in there. Needless to say, we won.
And speaking of the wheels man, there is a faint screeching of brakes, and Akito's here too. A few minutes late, as always, but better late than never, I guess. Besides, I halfway think sometimes that he has an ability like ours, only his is the talent of pushing people off the road. I just hope he doesn't get it in his head any time soon to teach Ryou or Kitty how to drive.
Before I know it, he's shuffled all three of us in the car, Yami and me in the backseat and Mai up front with him, and we're headed back towards the mansion at a speed just slightly slower than sound. And stoplights are apparently for wusses the way Akito ignores them. I make myself sink back into the seat and think of anything but the fact I think we just cut off a jet.
Yami looks about as shaken as I feel. Can't say I blame him; he's been present on every attempt thus far. Time number nine, they came closer to hitting him than hitting me. We both got off lucky this time with nothing worse than scrapes and bruises really.
"I'm good," I mutter. I think I left my stomach at the top of that last hill. I also think Akito's aiming to prove he can get to the mansion from any point in the city in five minutes or less. "I'm just getting a little tired of all this: getting shot at, attempted hit-and-runs, the idiot with the flamethrower..."
"You'd think they'd have stopped by now, since their would-be assassins aren't coming home," continues Yami.
I feel a smirk touch my face. "We are getting good at body disposal, aren't we? Not as good as them," I nod at the two in the front seat, "but we're getting better."
"We shouldn't have to keep doing this." Why's he complaining? It's not him whose father's trying to do him in. "They're getting better too, and I'm not losing you."
And... Assassins, meet Yami's number one hang-up: he's terrified of being abandoned. How the hell did he end up with me then? I might as well have a bull's-eye painted on my back as of late. I'm probably the worst person he could have ended up deciding to like. And why is this on my mind now? Probably because I was thinking about how Seto and Kitty are now officially no longer an item. Turned out Seto's power was calling to Kitty the entire time, instead of there being any real attraction. I guess I don't want Yami and me turning out the same way, realizing we made a mistake or something. Oh, don't get me wrong - they're still friends and all, but as a couple, they're over.
Akito makes a sharp, near-ninety degree left turn that was probably originally intended to make little old ladies piss themselves, I don't even see the gate open, and we're home. I resist the urge to jump out of the car and kiss the ground. I think I've already met my quota on that today.
I give myself a moment to recollect my stomach then step out of the car and onto the front steps as I speak over my shoulder to Yami. "Short of killing Oyaji, I don't see what we can do to stop it. I mean, we're still not a hundred percent sure how he tracked me down."
"Someone must have ratted us out on Pegasus' end." He's still a bit pissed about that. Hell, so am I for that matter. I understood my visit there wasn't going to get back to Oyaji, yet a week later, he sends one of his goons to kidnap and torture me. It's more than a bit suspicious if you ask me.
"It looks that way," I admit. While I'm here on the front stoop with the light on, I take a moment to see how back we're going to be looking. Yami's left arm is scraped to the elbow but not too bad; that was obviously where he landed when Mai shoved us; and his right hand is scraped a bit on the palm. I've got a scrape on the heels of both hands, and there will probably be one on my knee from when I landed. I swear, one of these days I'm going to give up and start wearing leather like Yami and Kitty; it cuts down on the road burn. "We got off easy this time."
"Let's hope it's the last time."
"The last time for what?" And I'd been wondering where Kitty'd disappeared to, since he was gone when I got up this morning. "What the hell happened to you two?"
"Got shot at," I reply.
"Again," Yami deadpans.
I can see the confusion draining into his face. "What? Wait. Shot at? Again? The hell?"
And I guess Kitty didn't know. I guess that's why he's been so low-key about the whole thing. Still, just to be sure... "You didn't know?"
"Hell, no! How long?"
I actually have to think back. "Since I got out of the hospital pretty much. Not every day or anything, though."
"They have been getting a lot more frequent lately," Yami reminds me. He leans closer to pull something out of my hair, holding it out for me to see what it is: a small piece of the sidewalk. "And they're getting better."
Hmm, I'd say Kitty's pissed. It's another of those things you can watch happen. It builds, slowly at first then a rush to consume his entire face. His posture changes, and it's easy to see he's just holding himself back. "Why didn't anyone tell me about this?" All Yami and I can do is shrug; we're a little out of the loop on this one as well. "Mai-san?"
I'd say she shrugs, but that's too inelegant a description for the delicate lifting of one shoulder she does. Mai has to be pretty about everything she does, after all. "I was under the impression you already knew."
There's a flash of black hair hurrying by, and when Kitty stops it, it's Mokuba. The half-pint's wired like the time he tried putting espresso in his blood, I can see that just looking at him now. But he stills under the hard look on Kitty's face. "Did you know Dorobou's getting shot at?" And that was pretty much more a growl than actual words. I hope the half-pint understood it. I wonder if Kitty has kitty teeth right now. I'm not getting close enough to find out, though.
Gigantic grey eyes turn to me. "You've been getting shot at, Bakura-san?"
"It's not like they've succeeded or come that close or anything." Somehow the half-pint's a lot like Yuugi: you know, kryptonite. It's hard to be mean to him and just as hard to see him threaten to cry. If he's able to keep this up over time, he'll be a dangerous little vamp for years to come. Of course, he'll also be just short of sixteen for the rest of time. Kind of a sobering thought: Yami, Ryou, and I are the only ones of this crew who aren't either immortal or damn near it. Even the half-pint here's going to outlive us. Not mentioning that now though, since Kitty's close enough to rabid as it is.
Kitty turn on his heel, muttering something that sounds like "He's treating me like his little brother" under his breath. The explosion is coming, just give it a second... "Kaiba!" And there goes Volcano Kitty, as he stomps back towards Seto's home office. "Kaiba!"
Mokuba winces. "I think we got niisama in trouble."
"Sounds like it," Yami comments. He sounds proud of that fact.
Even from where we stand, I can hear Seto's office door slam open. The half-pint grins. "I'm going to go watch! Bye!" He takes off like they're giving away free porn or something in that office.
And on that note... "I need to call Malik," I remind myself aloud. I hope my cell didn't get crushed when Mai shoved us down, though I guess it'd have stabbed me by now if it had. Pulling it out of my jeans pocket, I'm relieved to see it seems to be all right.
"Why Malik?" Yami asks as I punch in the nutball's speed dial number.
"I don't need an inside source at Kaiba Corp anymore."
He arches an eyebrow elegantly. How did he end up with someone like me again? "How'd you convince them to hire him?" Apparently, everyone knows about Malik.
"Don't ask me. I'm still trying to figure out how he got past that dragon of a personnel manager Treeboy has."
"Malik's Taxidermy. You snuff it, we stuff it."
For a long second, I have to hold the phone away from my ear and stare at it like it just declared itself emperor. "You're so weird," I finally get out, putting it back to my ear.
"Bakura!" He always sounds so cheerful when I call. It's a little cute, in a psychotic kind of way. "Where have you been? Why haven't you call me? I've been bored!"
I shake my head slowly. So strange indeed. "I need to talk to you."
"Over the phone or in person?" Sudden shift to serious. I'm still talking to Malik, though. That's good at least.
"In person," I reply. He's probably going to have a fit that I didn't tell him till now, and I'd rather not end up with innocent bystander ghosts - or blank spots if Marik gets a hold of them.
"I'll be there in three minutes." Now that I notice it, I can hear his motorcycle in the background, as well as wind and faint snatches of other people's conversations. He must be using the headset inside his helmet.
"We're not at the apartment anymore." We still have it, I think. I seem to recall seeing its rent as part of one Seto's monthly expense spreadsheets. I guess we can use it for storage or a hideout or something... or we'll have it to fall back on if Seto ever kicks us out.
"I know. I'm about three blocks away from the Kaiba Mansion."
Somehow I should have known he'd already know where we are without me telling him. "I'll call down to the gate and have them let you in."
"Do I knock or let myself in?" Sometimes I forget Malik's rather intelligent. Still there was a reason, when he showed up here in Domino not too long after we got here, I got him to go undercover at Kaiba Corp. He's smart but so much that he stands out, and that worked out well for Kaiba Corp, the dragon lady, and my plans at that time. Then, of course, there's Marik, but that's a whole other story altogether.
"Knock and someone'll let you in." If he doesn't manage to scare off the maids or anything.
"See you soon then, Boss."
I jinxed myself. I never should have even thought of the more psychotic side of the nutball. "See you soon, Marik."
Yami's eyes are wide as I snap the phone shut. "Malik's coming here?"
I shrug. "Might be Malik, might be Marik. We'll see in a few." I was trying for nonchalance with those words before calling down to the gate with Malik's description and the orders to just let him in - and if the horrified look on his face is any indication, I'm succeeding - but the difference between Malik and Marik is enough to make even me nervous. I mean, Malik's just a little fruity, but Marik... yeesh. Oh, and that's another thing I recall as I hang up the house phone from saving a few poor Weres' lives if they'd tried to stop Malik. "Have any idea where your Mini-Me is?"
His eyes go soft and unfocussed a moment. Standing between him and the stairs, I can feel a sliver of power go through me and towards the second story of the mansion. Yami tends to use his abilities in a very linear way. When he's trying to find a spirit, usually Yuugi, he follows doors, stairs, and hallways, instead of skipping ahead and going through walls or ceilings. "Upstairs playing video games against Ryou-kun on the big screen."
I nod. That's acceptable. "Tell him to stay up there till Ishtar's gone, just in case." He sends me a curious look as he bleeds back into his own mind, and I elaborate, "Malik's fine for him to be around, but Marik might be a little dangerous."
"Why?" That's my Yami, more curious than the cat. Where it concerns Yuugi, he's especially curious, and being an older brother myself (we think), I can understand why. I would, have, and will do anything in my power - legal, safe, moral, or none of the above - to keep Ryou safe. I've taken the blame for his mistakes, I've taken his beatings, I've let assholes carve in my flesh to hide his location, and I've left my home behind and moved to a new city - Domino, to be exact - to keep Oyaji from doing a thing to him. Yeah, I know where Yami's coming from with little brother protection.
"Marik's an ahmet." The confusion remains on his face. "A soul-eater."
09 June 2005
And here it is, the first completed chapter of Blood and Sacrifice. That was fun writing! I already have part of Chapter Two written, so hopefully it shouldn't be too long before it's out also. You'll also notice I finally got a name for the series: Endless Loop. Other stories in the series will be/are: Color of Life by me, Cursed Gold by Katsuko, Avarice by Katsuko, Silver Blue by Desolate03, and Automatic Paranoia by myself, though there might end up being more stories in the arc as well. They'll all be up on DarkMagick(dot)net as well as other sites.
Also, a quick note on the term ahmet: it's a term I ended up having to make up after having no luck trying to find any information on Egyptian or Middle Eastern demons. "Ahmet" is one spelling of the goddess Amut, the goddess who ate the souls of the impure, condemning them to a shade-like state. For the purpose of this story, I mixed that legend with the Japanese gaki legend, which is a wraith-like demon that feeds on emotions.